Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

What’s the point of this ad?

i-c63afd2e661f0d712b52b2a83e3d95a3-yourparents.jpg

Your parents do it. They are probably doing it right now. But you don’t want to know that. Just like you don’t want to know what happens to chicks and chickens on factory farms. You don’t want to know that behavioral scientists have discovered that the cognitive abilities of a chicken rival that of cats, dogs, and even young humans. But, whatever, as long as it tastes good, right?

Why would they want us to associate our parents doing the dirty with their campaign? Talk about a terrible brand association.

Comments

  1. #1 coturnix
    February 20, 2007

    Oh, do they have problems with Teh Sex?

  2. #2 Shelley Batts
    February 20, 2007

    Well, I saw it as “people don’t like to think about what’s unpleasant. Animal slaughter is unpleasant, like parental sex is unpleasant. Look how good you are at denial.”

    The ad just ened up being tangential and itself really unpleasant. Maybe if they had said something about global warming…..:P

  3. #3 Cheeto
    February 20, 2007

    Train of thought: I’m pretty glad that my parents had sex, and gosh darn, I kind hope they still do. But I’m also really glad that I don’t have to think about it. As for the chickens, I guess I’m pretty glad I don’t have to think about that too. Cuz chicken does taste good, but not as good as veal. MMMMmmmm veal.

  4. #4 jeffk
    February 20, 2007

    That’s actually a great ad, particularily by PETA’s standards.

  5. #5 Roy
    February 20, 2007

    Hmm. I end up thinking that chicken also do ‘the dirty’ — and so they must be stopped. How? Kill them and eat them.

  6. #6 Shelley Batts
    February 20, 2007

    particularily by PETA’s standards.

    Heh. Can’t argue with that.

  7. #7 John C. Welch
    February 20, 2007

    See, now *I* think they should have gone in for masturbation. I mean, the copy just writes itself:

    Choking your chicken, the good way:

    Choking your chicken, the BAD way:

    {guinness}BRILLIANT!{/guinness}

  8. #8 Claus
    February 20, 2007

    Maybe this simple unmasks PETA: Their real problem with animals dying useful deaths is not really the morals but just that it’s “yucky” to think about the animals dying.

  9. #9 Kurt
    February 20, 2007

    Arrg! I had to cut some of the verbiage out of this comment because the spam-blocker seemed to think I was peddling porn or something.

    I see that the woman is pictured on top; perhaps that is a little nod to the feminists who might have been offended by their earlier ‘state of the union’ (girl disrobing) ad?

  10. #10 Craig Helfgott
    February 20, 2007

    “behavioral scientists have discovered that the cognitive abilities of a chicken rival that of cats, dogs, and even young humans”

    Bwuh? Which behavioral scientists are these? Is this like that guy who was claiming that goldfish are smarter than dolphins?

  11. #11 quitter
    February 20, 2007

    I love it when they start saying chickens are as smart as young humans etc. It’s an argument that’s so patently absurd, it’s like instantly shooting oneself in the foot. At least with anyone who has ever encountered a chicken in real life. But then, a lot of what PETA is about is modern urban illiteracy about farms and farm animals.

    That reminds me, speaking of blocking things out, don’t they realize that even vegetable farming kills animals? Even organic farming uses pesticides (just organic-safe ones like sulfur), tills the earth, uses freeze-dried ladybugs by the ton and other environmentally friendly ways to kill etc. They’re just those worthless multi-legged animals that aren’t cute being killed, or ones that live underground so you don’t see them. There’s some funny idea out there that if a farmer puts up a sign that says “organic” by their crops, suddenly all animals will just leave their produce alone (or that farmers don’t shoot pests). I tell ya, cure urban illiteracy and you’ll cure PETA.

  12. #12 JB
    February 20, 2007

    It’s all about association – PETA doesn’t care if you like them or not, they view the ‘plight of the chicken’ as an offense and want to pass their disgust on to the viewer. It seems to me that if you agree with their point you would commend their use of parental humping as clever and not associate it negatively with PETA, just with chicken-choking.

    btw: nice one John

  13. #13 Robster
    February 20, 2007

    And it really is only the animals that are cute at one stage of their lifetime that PETA cares about.

    I think I’ll go get some lunch. Craving chicken for some reason…
    ———————–
    PETA bastards run kill shelters, too.

  14. #14 Shelley Batts
    February 20, 2007

    I love it when they start saying chickens are as smart as young humans etc. It’s an argument that’s so patently absurd, it’s like instantly shooting oneself in the foot.

    Indeed. Haven’t they heard of footnotes? Give us citations!! Claiming that chickens are more intelligent than previously thought is one thing, but smarter than young humans? Are they trying to generalize from *intelligent* birds like parrots, I wonder (which is still a huge stretch)? Messy, either way.

    But also a weird angle to play: “don’t eat it if its intelligent.” Is PETA somehow trying to advance the notion that less intelligent animals aren’t as big of an issue to them? And I always thought it was about cute and cuddlyness. Good thing I work with guinea pigs, which are dumb as posts. :)

  15. #15 S. Rivlin
    February 20, 2007

    Lucky me! My children, all grown up, are very proud of their parents having sex, still. I guess that means that my wife and I can also eat chicken and enjoy it (without orgasm, of course).

  16. #16 Davis
    February 20, 2007

    Even as a long-time vegetarian, PETA annoys the crap out of me. They make me want to start eating meat again, just to make their adherents angry.

    Did anyone catch their online video ad, with a young woman talking about the evils of killing animals while stripping down to her birthday suit? I found the idea a bit disturbing (though admittedly, I watched the whole thing).

  17. #17 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    behavioral scientists have discovered that the cognitive abilities of a chicken rival that of [...] young humans.

    Are they actually saying that young children are as dumb as chickens? Maybe theirs are…

  18. #18 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    I agree Davis, it sounds very disturbing. Do you have a YouTube link??

  19. #19 MJ Memphis
    February 20, 2007

    Having raised both chickens and dogs, I can say that: the average chicken is dumb as a bag of hammers; even a stupid dog is far smarter than a smart chicken; a stupid dog is probably smarter than most PETAns; and a stupid chicken may also be smarter than some PETAns.

  20. #20 Rich
    February 20, 2007

    Shelley said:

    Claiming that chickens are more intelligent than previously thought is one thing, but smarter than young humans?

    I suppose that depends what they mean by “young humans”. If they’re talking about sufficiently early foetuses then I suppose they’re right.

  21. #21 Davis
    February 20, 2007

    I agree Davis, it sounds very disturbing. Do you have a YouTube link??

    Well, here’s about the PETA page hosting the ad. Go be… disturbed. :)

  22. #22 PeterC
    February 20, 2007

    Now if they had said that chickens are smarter than our ad agency I could have believed them. But then the people working for their ad agency were once young humans which means their advert is truthful. Nuts proving PETA’s ad isn’t dumb is not smart.

  23. #23 Colugo
    February 20, 2007

    PETA’s gimmick is presenting sexual imagery with disturbing associations.

    Beast porn: animalized women in cages
    Necro porn: women as cadavers, meat

    Now, they want us to think of our parents having sex.

    It’s as if they are trying to bypass a rational consideration of the use of animals by eliciting a limbic response based on a combination of sex and disgust.

  24. #24 phineasgage
    February 20, 2007

    Hess did an experiment back in 1956 where he put goggles on chickens, which shifted their vision slightly to the side. Unlike human subjects, chickens never seemed to learn to adjust to this slight shift in vision. In fact, Hess claimed that two of his chickens had died of starvation in the experiment, with grain scattered all around them…

    Perhaps not the best example to use in a debate with PETA supporters, though. :P More on this curious experiment in my blog.

  25. #25 Kagehi
    February 20, 2007

    Well, they are certainly illiciting disgust from me… Just not the type they intended. And the really sad thing is, there are some idiots that praise them for all the, “Great things they have done for animals.”, with exactly the same seriousness and complete lack of basic reason as some people say, “Yes, but despite all the dead bodies piled up over the centuries, lies, persecution, slowing of progress, creation of social instability and delusions, etc., religion has done some wonderful things too!” Uh… Right. And when where you planning to do *real* research on how often that is? And just to be clear, 50/50 results between fracking everything in the world up and doing “good” are **not** acceptable results, nor or disingenuous claims that its really 80/20, by hand waving and claiming that 30% of it, “Wasn’t actually the fault of religion.” You could hand wave away “anything” that way, by simply denying that the thing discussed sufficiently influenced it to count.

  26. #26 David
    February 20, 2007

    I wonder if these anonymous behavioural scientists used animal experimentation?

  27. #27 Drekab
    February 20, 2007

    Drekab,

    I’m confused, whats so bad about my parents learning CPR?

  28. #28 Drekab
    February 20, 2007

    ahem, I haven’t the slightest clue as to why I addressed that to myself.

  29. #29 Thony C.
    February 20, 2007

    I sure as hell hope that my parents had sex or where the hell did I come from?

    SB: The postman. :)

  30. #30 Tom Foss
    February 20, 2007

    Maybe this simple unmasks PETA: Their real problem with animals dying useful deaths is not really the morals but just that it’s “yucky” to think about the animals dying.

    In my experience, that’s the content of the majority of PeTA and anti-abortion ads. Argumentum ad queasium: it makes you feel icky, therefore it’s wrong.

    I’ve often wanted to stand near the anti-abortion protesters with their dismembered-fetus signs, holding a large image of open-heart surgery, saying “Are you opposed to this too?” Just because it looks gross doesn’t mean it’s morally wrong.

  31. #31 Baratos
    February 20, 2007

    Thanks to in vitro fertilization, I dont think my parents ever had to have sex to make me! Meddling with nature FTW!

  32. #32 Warren
    February 20, 2007

    But also a weird angle to play: “don’t eat it if its intelligent.” Is PETA somehow trying to advance the notion that less intelligent animals aren’t as big of an issue to them? And I always thought it was about cute and cuddlyness. Good thing I work with guinea pigs, which are dumb as posts. :)
    Posted by: Shelley Batts | February 20, 2007 12:37 PM

    TTBOMK the agenda of PETA is to convert the entire planet to total veganism (as well as ending animal experimentation and people having pets).

    Seriously.

    A World That’s Safe For Chickens™ is just the thin end on this particular wedge.

  33. #33 John McKay
    February 20, 2007

    Clearly, they are arguing that we should eat our dogs, cats, and children up to a certain age.

    Considering that one of my parents has been dead for over five years, I hope they’re not “doing it right now.” Oh dear, did I just suggest PETA’s next ad campaign?

  34. #34 MarkP
    February 20, 2007

    A PR stroke of genius this ain’t. At first blush I took this to be an ad for a self-defense course, since to me it looked more like she’s choking the chicken shit out of him. Granted, the arm placement is a bit low, so I read. All I saw was “doing it”, so now I’m thinking of chicken and sex, both things I love.

    Shades of Cartman when they showed him the film of Hitler I suppose…

  35. #35 KiwiInOz
    February 20, 2007

    Well, I for one am all for the PETA message of ‘getting nakeder than ever before’. Thanks for the link Davis.

  36. #36 darrell
    February 20, 2007

    Stopped by via Pharyngula to check out the add…was both amused and then immediately disturbed by this comment:

    Clearly, they are arguing that we should eat our dogs, cats, and children up to a certain age.

    Considering that one of my parents has been dead for over five years, I hope they’re not “doing it right now.” Oh dear, did I just suggest PETA’s next ad campaign?

    See the first part is so good. Funny stuff, eating children. But then you had to go and mention dead people having sex…and that’s no fun for anyone.

  37. #37 D'Arcy Norman
    February 20, 2007

    could it be stranger than this one?

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=RiQEho81jiw

  38. #38 Calladus
    February 20, 2007

    Milliways, the restaurant from “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” by Douglas Adams, served an intelligent cow that wanted to be eaten.

    Would something like that satisfy PETA?

  39. #39 Sherri
    February 20, 2007

    Seeing their ad makes me want my husband, then a chicken dinner afterwards. Thanks PETA! It will be a nice evening X^P

  40. #40 Charlie (Colorado)
    February 20, 2007

    See the first part is so good. Funny stuff, eating children. But then you had to go and mention dead people having sex…and that’s no fun for anyone.

    Well… almost anyone.

  41. #41 David Harmon
    February 20, 2007

    Colugo: It’s as if they are trying to bypass a rational consideration of the use of animals by eliciting a limbic response based on a combination of sex and disgust.

    That’s exactly what they’re trying to do. And targeting, if not literal children, certainly the “infantile reactions” of their audience.

    John McKay: Clearly, they are arguing that we should eat our dogs, cats, and children up to a certain age.

    Danger! Danger, Will^W John McKay! Beware… The Swift Effect! ;-)

    Considering that one of my parents has been dead for over five years, I hope they’re not “doing it right now.”

    LOL! (And still laughing!)

  42. #42 jeffk
    February 20, 2007

    PETA seems to inspire a lot of rage, and I don’t really disagree that they should. But I think we do them a disservice sometimes. They’re not THAT stupid. It’s a fair point that we definitely eat animals that can feel pain, and that probably arn’t too far behind young humans. I mean, once you agree that a person is just an animal, there’s a pretty fair argument to be made – most of their policy is based off Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation”, which isn’t all bullshit. They know a cow and a ladybug arn’t the same thing. When PETA fails is when they stop being rational and start being emotional, which is pretty much always.

  43. #43 bsci
    February 20, 2007

    jeffk,
    Where PETA fails is that they think there’s anything they can say to make the majority of people value a few lab mice more than a single human. They’ve lost the rational arguements leaving only irrational options.

    No ads featuring a woman flying on a broomstick will change that.

  44. #44 dragonet2
    February 21, 2007

    Ever since I found out that PETA often kills animals they ‘save’ (especially pet animals) I have an extra special amount of hatred and distrust of them.

    They’re tossers. That’s the best I can say. If one of ‘em were to stand up to me about having pets I’d have a ‘Tourette ‘s episode” (I have a terrible potty mouth) and spit in their face.

  45. #45 Thony C.
    February 21, 2007

    “I sure as hell hope that my parents had sex or where the hell did I come from?

    SB: The postman. :)”

    Come on Shelley you’re a biologist (well almost!)! Everyone knows that postmen can’t interbreed with humans. :)

  46. #46 Daniel
    February 21, 2007

    Through PETA’s website I came to this website: http://goveg.com/factoryFarming_chickens.asp

    Their only reference to the incredible finding on the cognitive abilities of chickens is an article from the New York Times by one William Grimes called “If Chickens Are So Smart, Why Aren’t They Eating Us?”

    I wasn’t able to find it though… I would have liked to read it.

  47. #47 jeffk
    February 21, 2007

    Killing the animals they save isn’t inheritly flawed. We kill animals all of the time, and since animals, presumably, have little concept of a future (a cow isn’t thinking, damn, I can’t wait to eat more grass tomorrow!), it’s (arguably) a morally neutral act if it’s done painlessly. This is why there are people that eat meat but prefer to eat cruelty-free meat. So if they save an animal that’s being abused, there is less suffering overall if they kill it. That said, I don’t know any details – I just mean it’s conceivable that it’s not a mistake.

    I can’t believe I’m defending PETA. I think they’re pricks. I just think sometimes we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  48. #48 bill w
    February 21, 2007

    “behavioral scientists have discovered that the cognitive abilities of a chicken rival that of cats, dogs, and even young humans”

    I was skeptical at first but then I thought “Alabama”

  49. #49 Daniel
    February 21, 2007

    Reading about the whole chicken thing I came upon this quote:

    “Perhaps most persuasive is the chicken’s intriguing ability to understand that an object, when taken away and hidden, nevertheless continues to exist. This is beyond the capacity of small children.”

    It’s from the NY Times article that PETA references.

    Yes, small children are unable to understand that what they don’t see at the moment still exists. In fact, they cannot even discern between images of things and the actual things. Give a small enough child a life-size picture of a shoe and it will try to put it on. They also don’t realize that other people can know things they don’t know themselves. That’s all well and good. But it doesn’t mean that the chicken is “more intelligent”. That’s the manipulation on PETA’s side.Bbased on those facts, saying that chickens are smarter than your kid is just as constructive as saying that your kid is dumber than a chicken, as someone noted.

  50. #50 Daniel
    February 21, 2007

    Also: Things like spatial cognition and the encoding of geometric and landmark information in the chicken brain have been studied well and published in respected journals. As has their social complexity. So it’s perfectly arguable that the mental capacities of chickens have been underestimated in the past, and clearly there are practices in chicken farming that are unethical, but you cannot equate tests carried out on chickens to tests carried out on small children like that. That’s just… well, stupid.

  51. #51 Dean
    February 21, 2007

    Well, eagles and hawks like chickens also so the poultry industry should come out with an ad “Fly Like An Eagle, eat a chicken today”……

  52. #52 Kagehi
    February 21, 2007

    It’s a fair point that we definitely eat animals that can feel pain, and that probably arn’t too far behind young humans.

    And other animals eat animals that can feel pain, including our 99% herbavore cousins, who have an occational other animal for lunch to grab a bit of extra protein. This is a non-starter for an argument. The question should be, “Are we being too unreasonable and stupid in how we treat our food.”, not, “Should it be food?” The top dogs in PETA have more than a few times basically stated that the only thing they see humans as good for is creating policies to stop other **humans** from killing other animals (not those animals killing each other oddly..) and that, in principle, its terribly unfortunate that there are all these humans around mucking things up, which make it necessary for a group like PETA to exist.

    One suspects that if every human on the planet died, except for the president of PETA, she would be found trying to stick a collar on a grizzly bear, with the words, “President of PETA”, on it, with the fervent hope that she got it on well enough before the bear got completely pissed off and ate her. lol

  53. #53 Chinchillazilla
    February 21, 2007

    Well, eagles and hawks like chickens also so the poultry industry should come out with an ad “Fly Like An Eagle, eat a chicken today”……

    Or one with a fox carrying a chicken off. “Eating chicken makes you foxy.”

  54. #54 Roy
    February 21, 2007

    And other animals eat animals that can feel pain, including our 99% herbavore cousins, who have an occational other animal for lunch to grab a bit of extra protein.

    What other animals eat really doesn’t play much of a role in determining what our moral responsibilities are, though. There are plenty of compelling arguments on both sides of the vegetarian/not debate, but arguing “well, other animals eat animals” is very much a “non-starter” as well.

    The question should be, “Are we being too unreasonable and stupid in how we treat our food.”, not, “Should it be food?”

    Why? I’m not vegitarian, but I don’t see why your question is somehow a better starting place than the other. I think that your question is a good one, too, but it doesn’t make sense to consider your question unless you’ve already answered the other, does it?

    The top dogs in PETA have more than a few times basically stated that the only thing they see humans as good for is creating policies to stop other **humans** from killing other animals (not those animals killing each other oddly..) and that, in principle, its terribly unfortunate that there are all these humans around mucking things up, which make it necessary for a group like PETA to exist.

    I suspect that PETA, like many people, do not consider most animals as having moral obligations, and so it’d be silly to try to stop animals from killing other animals. Most animals don’t have any other means of getting the proper dietary requirements if they don’t stick to their “natural” diets. Humans have an advantage in that we have created ways of ensuring that we get proper nutrition without having to kill animals in the process. I’m not, of course, saying that PETA are right, only that it wouldn’t make sense for them to try to stop a tiger from eating meat, given the relative differences between a tiger’s role and our own.

    I feel like this is another case where PETA ends up making perfectly reasonable people (most vegetarians) look foolish or extreme, just because PETA have such extreme/radical views.

  55. #55 Inky
    February 21, 2007

    Okay. As hare-brained as PETA can be, I do appreciate their efforts to improve animal welfare. Since they’re an extremist view, and most other people don’t think chickens have the potential to attend grade school, they generally serve is a propaganda machine that most people ignore, but at least raise issues that can be concerns for animal welfare. I think they’re well-meaning, but, well, overly sentimental and often just plain nuts.

    That said, normally they do a decent job on their ad campaigns, even if the facts are fuzzy.

    But this? WTF? How can a group of people decide that this is an effective ad?

    (For the record, though I roll my eyes benevolently at PETA, I absolutely think the Animal Liberation Front is counterproductive and can be classified as a domestic terrorist group.)

  56. #56 MJ Memphis
    February 22, 2007

    “For the record, though I roll my eyes benevolently at PETA, I absolutely think the Animal Liberation Front is counterproductive and can be classified as a domestic terrorist group”

    So do you roll your eyes benevolently at PETA when they fund ALF (and ELF)?

  57. #57 Brendan
    February 22, 2007

    As a curious side note, as far as PETA’s ad campaigns’ effectiveness and intelligence, has anyone here ever seen the 404 page on the PETA website? It’s quality. Right here.

  58. #58 JamesR
    February 22, 2007

    Davis
    Thanks for the link. Ahhh?? What was she jabbering about??

    The above ad is ridiculous. They should get their money back.

  59. #59 film izle
    December 13, 2008

    thanks

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